10 Tips to Finish the Year Well

There’s nothing astronomically significant that happens at midnight on December 31st.  There’s no “New Year Comet” that flies through the sky.  If you really want to get astronomically geeky about it, a year is not really a year.

There is a psychological significance, though.

The change from one calendar year to another adds punctuation to our lives.  It’s a period at the end of a sentence. It is a transition from one thought to another.

I teach my coaching clients that a big cause of stress is a failure to finish.  Instead of a period, you insert a comma.  And, while I love the Oxford comma, Ernest Hemingway taught us the value of having plenty of periods.

And, if it’s true for writing, it must be true for life, correct?


Here are some recommendations to maximize the psychological significance of this astronomically-ambiguous opportunity to punctuate your life.

In other words, do the following stuff at the end of each year.

10 Tips to Finish the Year Well

  1. Sort and purge the paper and other items that have accumulated on your desk surface.
  2. Annihilate your email inbox. Get it down to zero if possible.
  3. Delete icons you don’t need on your computer desktop.
  4. Uninstall apps on your phone and tablet. While you’re there, turn off all notifications from the remaining apps.
  5. Update your to-do list. If you don’t have a well-functioning task management tool, we need to talk.
  6. Clean out every drawer and cabinet in your office.
  7. Go through your electronic files saved on your computer, the cloud, or a network server. Delete unneeded files, then organize what’s left.
  8. Update your contact list. Toss all business cards you’ve been collecting.
  9. Deal with the money stuff: pay bills, invoice clients, submit expenses, gather receipts, run financial reports, etc.
  10. Set goals for the coming year. Make a mindmap if you want to spice up the process.

Bonus Tip:  Plan your vacations for the coming year.  Work around your time off rather than squeezing your time off in the nooks and crannies of your work.

If the list above it too task-y for you and you seek a more esoteric, reflective list of year-end activities, read this article.  It talks about death.  You’ll love it.


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Dr. Melissa GratiasMelissa Gratias (pronounced “Gracious”) used to think that productivity was a result of working long hours. And, she worked a lot of hours. Then, she learned that productivity is a skill set, not a personality trait. Now, Melissa is a productivity expert who coaches and trains other businesspeople to be more focused, balanced, and effective. She is a prolific writer and speaker who travels the world helping people change how they work and improve how they live. Contact her at getproductive@melissagratias.com or 912-417-2505. Sign up to receive her productivity tips via email.


  1. Dick Capp

    Thank you. Good plan. Needed this

  2. Julie Bestry

    I love these tips, because the end of the year is often marked by a crazy-fast pace and then a silent set of days and these things work to take the edge off the former and have a sense of accomplishment during the latter. In fact, I just cleared a bunch of Safari bookmarks and reading list items that are no longer needed. It felt like losing five pounds!


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